Michael Chandler finally got his rematch against Brent Primus at Bellator 212 on Friday in Honolulu — and he came out on top despite Primus clipping him in the second.
The greatest grudge match Bellator had seen in years went down Friday at Bellator 212 (subtitled Bellator: Salute the Troops) in Honolulu, Hawaii. That came when Brent Primus met Michael Chandler for the second time. Their first meeting, in New York over a year ago, ended with Primus capturing the lightweight championship when a leg injury rendered Chandler unable to continue.
The lasting image of that bout was Chandler pretty much screaming to tear the limb off, so pressing was his desire to continue the fight. No such luck. The bout was waved off. Primus took home Chandler’s belt. And as the months passed, it seemed the pair would never meet again, much to the ire of Michael Chandler. Finally, he appeared to give up on the rematch altogether, and set his focus on money fights. Yet as Bellator graced the Hawaiian islands this week, he finally got his chance for revenge.
When the action started, Primus fired off a couple of kicks, missing, before finally finding his range and forcing Chandler to block one. Chandler backed Primus up, fired a punch, slipped, but came right back up. Primus began working low kicks in, chopping away at Chandler’s legs. Coming in, Chandler connected with a right, rocking Primus! Primus did fire back with a counter, but didn’t do nearly as much damage with the blow. Chandler went on the attack, and soon dumped the champion on his back. Chandler was in closed guard, looking to create some space as Primus tied him up, earning some recovery time. Chandler, however, found enough room to land a handful of elbows, and finished the round easily avoiding upkicks, dropping a few heavy punches on his opponent.
In the second, Primus was going to need to take a different approach. Instead, Chandler connected with a left jab early. Chandler’s ability to move quickly in and out of range was impressive, but Primus did connect with more leg kicks. One in particular saw Chanderl’s ankle roll ever so slightly. It didn’t seem to effect him any, but Chandler was then rocked by a left! Primus immediately took his back and got hooks in! He worked for the rear-naked choke, but Chandler managed to win the battle of hands and reverse position, working from guard.
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After Primus was rocked in the first, and Chandler in the second, what awaited in the third? Chandler was taking some big swings right off the bell. Primus worked Chandler’s legs again. ‘Iron Mike’ then backed Primus up against the fence and shot in, taking him down. That put the fight back in Chandler’s wheelhouse. Three rounds in, Chandler was slick with sweat, making submissions a chore. Chandler stayed in control for the remainder of the round, with Primus finishing the frame on his back. While the challenger never came close to a finish, he easily won the round.
In the fourth, Primus came out in a hurry, but Chandler saw it coming. Chandler would tempt fate with his hands low, but finished a takedown within the first minute. That allowed him to once again take control. Working continually to improve position, he’d again stay on top for the remainder of the round, having only to contend with the odd elbow attempt from the bottom — none of which posed any real danger.
The fifth and final round picked up where the fourth had left off. Chandler immediately took the fight down, while Primus tried in vain to come through with a submission from the bottom. Chandler was way too slick, so while Primus had an omoplata in mind, he was never really close. The same could be said for the fight itself. Aside from the second round, Primus never really had Chandler in danger. Chandler, meanwhile, finished the fifth round with a jumping knee attempt in the mere moments Primus managed to regain his feet. And then the champ was back down. Chandler finished with a takedown right at the bell, and there was zero question as to who was the better man in Honolulu.
Now a three-time Bellator lightweight champion, Chandler said following the fight that “that was an awesome performance by Brent Primus.” Praising his opponent, it seems like the bad blood is over between the two, at least for Chandler. “He’s craftier than I thought,” he admitted.
Michael Chandler def. Brent Primus by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)